By Blair McNally
Hibs moved up to first in the Scottish Premiership with a comfortable 3-0 win over Ross County.
First half goals from Martin Boyle, Kyle Magennis and Christian Doidge handed Jack Ross’ men three points as they kept their 100% record in-tact. County are still searching for their first league win of the season after an opening day draw with St Johnstone.
The home side didn’t take long to get into their stride, threatening the County goal inside a minute. Boyle drove down the right wing, skipping by Regan Charles-Cook, his effort flashing narrowly wide the post.
It was all Hibs in attack. A number of chances went astray as the County defenders put their bodies on the line, desperately defending the clean sheet. All this hard work vanished in the 22nd minute as Hibs took the lead. 25 yards out, Boyle’s audacious effort deflected off Coll Donaldson, looping over County goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw.
Minutes later, Hibs’ lead was doubled. Josh Doig – returning to the starting XI amid transfer interest – timed a cross perfectly to meet an unmarked Magennis, the midfielder guiding a header expertly into the far corner.
Hibs were in cruise control soon after. Paul McGinn this time found Doidge free outside the six yard box and he headed home Hibs’ third. The Easter Road club continued to dominate proceedings, holding the majority of possession to see out the win. Here are three things we learned.
Originally working well as a team and staying compact as a unit, an array of County heads dropped after Hibs’ first goal, leading to the second and the third being scored in quick succession as the home team took full advantage. County had chances of their own but failed to take advantage.
Hibs now look forward to the away leg of their Europa Conference League third round qualifier against Rijeka in Croatia. Ross’ side drew 1-1 three days ago and should really have taken a lead abroad with them. Hibs will remain confident they can reach the play-off round.
Every team needs a strong group of leaders and with Hibs there is no shortage in this sector. Joe Newell, Ryan Porteous, Doidge and Hanlon all display these qualities, with the latter going off at half-time with a head knock, putting his body on the line just minutes into the match. Ross has a settled group.
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